No minister from ruling Narendra Modi government came to attend President Pranab Mukherjee’s Iftar at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday, significantly his last as the first citizen of India. In conversation with the Indian Express, Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary, CPI(M) said that he has never seen an Iftar hosted by the President where no government representative was present. “There was not a single minister, not a single government representative and not a single BJP leader. In all these years, I have never been to an Iftar hosted by the President where there has been no representative of the Government of India,” CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury told The Indian Express. Javed Ali Khan, SP Rajya Sabha MP, also noticed the absence of government representatives at the party. “I could not spot a single minister at the Iftar hosted by President Pranab Mukherjee. In the past, I have attended three Iftars at Rashtrapati Bhavan and I remember seeing ministers like Rajnath Singh, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Mahesh Sharma and Vijay Goel. This time, no one was there,” Khan was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.
The IE report says that all members of the Union Council of Ministers are invited to the Iftar by Rashtrapati Bhavan. Among those missing, a prominent name was of Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who had attended the dinner last year. When contacted, Naqvi told the Indian Express that he was scheduled to attend the dinner, but couldn’t go due to a CCPA meeting ‘exactly at that time’. Among those who did attend the Iftar were former Rajya Sabha MP Mohsina Kidwai, former CEC S Y Quraishi, India Islamic Cultural Centre chief Sirajuddin Qureshi and theatre actor Aamir Raza Husain.